It’s March, almost St. Patrick’s Day, and a good time of year for a filling, make-ahead dessert. So many great things have come out of Ireland: Baileys Irish Cream, Guinness, whiskey, Halloween, any number of actors, musicians, and authors, and of course, me (a few generations removed). Detroit’s way of celebrating St. Paddy’s is rooted around the Corktown Races. Sadly, they are cancelled this year, but that won’t stop us from celebrating the season at home. These Baileys cheesecake bars were inspired by that insensitively-named dropped shot cocktail. (I know I drank way too many of these in my our early 20s). At my current ripened age, I don’t think my insides could tolerate chugging one now. However, I can certainly get down with this combo of Irish cream, stout, coffee, and chocolate.
These Baileys cheesecake bars, although derived from a few disparate sources, come together nicely. The dark chocolate ganache made with Brew Detroit Cold Brew Stout? To die for. Every dark chocolate ganache should be THIS ganache. (But whoever told you I licked it out right of the bowl is LYING through their teeth). The coffee grounds crust, while it might seem strange, tastes fantastic and, as a bonus, helps to cut down on food waste in your home. This dessert is rich, and decadent, but a great way to spread some Irish cheer and raise your spirits as we head into spring. Ok, enough said, let’s get to work!
Chocolate Coffee Ground Crust
- 1/4 cup spent coffee grounds (the more finely ground, the better)
- 2 cups crushed Oreos (or chocolate sandwich cookie of your choice)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature (I used Calder’s Dairy)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (I used Baileys)
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Cold Brew Detroit stout (or another stout of your choice!)
- 1/2 tbsp butter
For the crust, preheat your oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed cookie crumbs and coffee grounds, then drizzle in the melted butter and stir to coat everything (it might remain crumbly - no worries).
Dump the crumbs into an 8 x 8 inch pan (preferably metal) and press to form an even crust (the best way that I’ve found to do this is with the bottom of a measuring cup). Bake the crust for 10 minutes, set aside to cool, and lower the oven to 325° F.
For the filling, use an electric mixer in a large bowl to beat the cream cheese until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar and beat until totally combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the sour cream then the eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Add in vanilla, espresso powder, and salt and blend on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the Irish cream. Don’t overmix.
Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake about 40 minutes, until just set in the center and the edges are puffed and slightly cracked. I put a bowl of water on the rack below the cheesecake to help with an even rise and to reduce cracks (easier than a water bath!). Turn off the oven heat and use a wooden spoon to crack the oven door open. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream and stout together until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then stir to combine; add the butter and stir until it has melted and the ganache is smooth. At this point you can drink the rest of the stout, should you choose. 😉
Leave the ganache in the bowl until it is thick and spreadable, and the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature. Spread the ganache in a thick layer over the top and allow to set. The cheesecake should have a raised crust around the perimeter, which will allow the ganache to settle perfectly. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cut into pieces and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy, and sláinte!
(Totally optional - but fun! - step: To achieve the swirled effect, I made a white chocolate Baileys version of the ganache and swirled it in with the dark chocolate.)
Recipe adapted from Domestic Gothess, Handle the Heat, and Food52.